Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell, the iconic singer behind the band’s popular hits in the 1990s and 2000s, has tragically passed away at the age of 56.
The news of Harwell’s death was confirmed by Smash Mouth’s manager, Robert Hayes, in a statement to Rolling Stone on Monday.
According to Hayes, Harwell “peacefully and comfortably” passed away at his home in Boise, Idaho, surrounded by loved ones.
“Steve Harwell was a true American Original, a larger-than-life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle,” the band wrote in a statement on Twitter.
Steve Harwell was a true American Original. A larger than life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle. Steve will be remembered for his unwavering focus and impassioned determination to reach the heights of pop stardom.
Rest in peace knowing you aimed for the… pic.twitter.com/qZDliiIl30
— Smash Mouth (@smashmouth) September 4, 2023
“Steve should be remembered for his unwavering focus and impassioned determination to reach the heights of pop stardom,” the memorial continued.
“And the fact that he achieved this near-impossible goal with very limited musical experience makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable.”
The statement noted that Harwell’s goals became reality due to his “irrepressible charm and charisma,” along with his “fearlessly reckless ambition.”
“Steve lived a 100 percent full-throttle life,” the post concluded. “Burning brightly across the universe before burning out.”
The exact cause of Harwell’s passing has not been disclosed. However, TMZ reported that former lead singer had been in hospice care due to his battle with alcoholism.
On Sunday, Hayes told People that the singer had “only a week or so to live,” and was being cared for at home by his fiance and hospice care” during the final stage of liver failure.
RIP to Steve Harwell. 🙏 He will always be an All Star!
The Shrek opening is iconic, and we will remember the song forever!pic.twitter.com/wlvp5r2lJI
— Austin Ahern 😃 (@TailsAustin9922) September 5, 2023
Harwell died less than a day after the statement was made, just two years after departing from the band helped form in San Jose, California, in 1994.
Smash Mouth shot to worldwide stardom with their psychedelic soul hit “Walkin’ on the Sun,” which was their debut single off 1997’s “Fush Yu Mang,” and first No. 1 hit.
Their biggest hit came two years later, with 1999’s pop smash “All Star,” which propelled the band to sell more than 10 million albums worldwide.
After nearly three decades with the band, Harwell abruptly retired following a rowdy performance at a beer festival in Bethel, NY, where he was slurring and swaying on stage.
During the October 2021 show, the singer threatened concertgoers, repeatedly swore and gave the finger while onstage, then reportedly did a Nazi salute to the crowd.
A day later, a representative claimed that Harwell’s bad behavior was due to suffering “numerous symptoms directly linked” to his medical conditions.
— Deborah Pinson (@_chatterboxmama) September 4, 2023
The “I’m A Believer” singer was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and Wernicke encephalopathy in 2013.
“Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a Rockstar performing in front of sold-out arenas and have been so fortunate to live out that dream,” the frontman said at the time.
Rest in peace, Steve Harwell! You might not have been the sharpest tool in the shed, but you will always be a legend❤️ pic.twitter.com/VFX2TpZabP
— Everything Out Of Context (@EverythingOOC) September 4, 2023
“I’ve tried so hard to power through my physical and mental health issues, and to play in front of you one last time, but I just wasn’t able to.”
Harwell was memorialized by fellow celebrities that came up in the era, including Carson Daly, and NSYNC band members Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick.
In a two-post tribute on Instagram, Daly recalled how both he and Smash Mouth rose to fame out of San Jose, when they were unsigned and he was a local radio DJ.
He kept track of the band as they were signed by Interscope Records, and he became a TV personality on MTV.
“In better days, Steve was a force of a frontman & lived the life of 50 men. He brought joy to millions with his music and his legacy will thankfully live on,” Daly wrote.
“I hope in his final days & hours, surrounded by family & friends he found comfort. He’s in a better place now for sure.”
Fatone recalled how Smash Mouth was the opening band for NSYNC at one point and even moonlighted as the singer at his wedding.
“Sad all things must come to an end and some times too soon due to things that are past fixing because too much damage has been done,” he captioned a photo of himself and Harwell.
“Rest easy my friend. I’m truly sorry for the difficult battle you had to fight,” Kirkpatrick added in a separate post. “You were an amazing soul and will be deeply missed.”